bank employee indicted for cashing forged tax refund checks
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a former employee of Wells Fargo Bank was indicted on charges of negotiating forged U.S. Treasury checks on two separate occasions.
Melissa Licelot Duran-Muniz, 24, of Anchorage, is the sole defendant named in the two-count indictment. The indictment charges that on April 18 and April 22, 2011, Duran-Muniz used her position to assist others in depositing or cashing two forged U.S. Treasury checks in the amounts of $6,776 and $7,702 respectively.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Bradley and Stephanie Courter, who presented the case to the grand jury, this indictment is related to an indictment returned in July 2011 charging multiple defendants with conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns and negotiating fraudulently obtained tax refund checks. Defendants in that case used bank employees like Duran-Muniz to further their scheme.
The law provides for a maximum sentence on each count of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.
The case was investigated under the purview of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is made up of personnel from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Coast Guard and the Anchorage Police Department.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.